This glorious volume brings together 51 of the 67 icons and images that William Hart McNichols has done on the Mother of God. McNichols, a priest who lives in Taos, New Mexico, has been described by Time magazine as being "among the most famous creators of Christian iconic images in the world." Mirabai Starr speaks and leads retreats on the connections between teachings of the mystics, contemplative practice, and social action. She has translated and written introductions for works by St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, and has edited writings of St. Francis and St. Hildegard of Bingen. In her introductory comments, Starr reveals why it is timely to ponder these icons:
"People of all faiths call her Mother. In moments of deeply personal sorrow, we turn to her for consolation. In our bewilderment, we turn to her for insight. When the world seems to be losing its balance and spiraling into a vortex of violence and greed, we turn to Mary for a reminder of what matters most, what endures when all else seems to be lost, what grace may yet be available when we meet fear with love."
The impressive variety of images depict Mary in the many different cultures with what each people finds most appealing. A diverse view is also expressed by the different honorific titles given to the mother of Jesus — including Star of the Sea, Our Lady of Snows, Mother of All Nations, She Who Hears the Cries of the World, Our Lady of the Lake, Mother of the Word, and many more.
Here are two examples of meditations:
• Mother of fairest love,
of holy awe,
of perennial wisdom,
and of hope in the face of despair,
teach me to love as you love:
Transmit to me the secret code
that unlocks my opinionated mind
and sets me free to play
in the open fields of the heart.
you are the breath of the Holy One.
You are a radiant emanation of his glory.
You hold up a mirror to his goodness,
and your own eyes reflect his eternal face.
As I empty myself of myself,
enter me now,
and make me an intimate friend of God.
• Sweet Mother,
River of Light,
draw me into your tender embrace.
I weep for the pain of the world:
the suffering of innocent animals
at the cruel hands of humans;
the anguish of mothers
whose sons and daughters are ordered into battle
by imperious leaders in remote offices;
the ruination of the atmosphere
and the disappearance of vast stretches of wilderness.
I know that you weep with me,
that when I reach for you, Blessed Mother,
you receive me
and mingle your tears with mine.
Together we can hold the broken heart of the world
and keep it safe.